Cartoons Tools Review: Xtranormal

Designing cartoons can be a lot of fun, but static images can only tell part of a story. Have you ever wished that you could create an animated cartoon, complete with voice acting and 3D characters? That’s exactly what Xtranormal offers.
Xtranormal can’t help with creating, say, illustrated maps or by book illustrators, but is a tool that will instantly turn a script that you create into a 3D animation. The voice options are limited, so you can’t expect to use Xtranormal to make a blockbuster cartoon which will take over Saturday morning TV, but it’s still a lot of fun, and it’s incredibly impressive technology wise.



Xtranormal really does live up to the idea of “If you can type, you can make movies”. Users can choose the setting, the characters, and the voices, and Xtranormal will then animate the characters as they read out what you’ve written. If you don’t like the stock collection of characters (a selection of men, women, and cute animal figures), you can download more, ranging from Army guys to monsters, super heroes, robots and stick-men.

It takes skill to make a good cartoon with Xtranormal. You can achieve decent results by simply typing in your script and accepting the default settings, but some of the word recognition is rather quirky. You may find that if you mis-spell words or get creative with punctuation you will achieve better results and the audio will be more natural sounding.
The basic version of Xtranormal is free. When you sign up for an account you get access to the online movie maker and the desktop software. Extra actors and sets must be purchased individually. For $10 a month, you get access to all actors and sets, as well as more sophisticated admin tools. For $50 per month, you get the ability to customize the actors, and the ability to make white-label videos.

Tips for Drawing Great Cartoons

You don’t have to be a skilled artist to draw cartoons. Most cartoons are simplified versions of things that we see every day in real life. Once you learn to think about things from the point of view of a cartoonist, it’s easy to create compelling and interesting images.

Break Your image Into Its Simplest Elements

If you need to draw a tree, start with a rectangle, and add a triangle or a circle to the top. Make the rectangle brown, and the circle green, and there you go – you have the beginnings of a tree. You can add detail (roots, shadows) later if you wish.
Making a car is just as easy – two circles for the wheels, and a rectangle for the body. Gradually add details from there.

Use Layers When Working on Your Computer

10-Tips-for-Drawing-Great-CartoonsIf you are making your illustrations or cartoons on the computer, use an application like PhotoShop, which supports vector images and layers. Always work in vectors, rather than bitmaps (vectors can be resized easily, which is important if you want to print your images out). Layers are useful because they allow you to break the image down into several parts, and if something goes wrong you can just remove one layer rather than have to re-do the whole image.

Choose a Bold Colour Pallet

Cartoons are not supposed to be realistic. They’re bold, bright and simple. Don’t worry about finding the perfect shade of red or brown for your bricks, and don’t worry about fine details. Stick to a small range of bright colors, and don’t worry about making things completely realistic. When you’re creating a cartoon, you can sacrifice detail (and even, to a certain extent, scale) if it makes things look more interesting.
Use your imagination, and let people fill in the blanks – and above all, have fun with your images.